Not intending to take over the family business, Luc and Charles, the two sons of Georges Raymond – president and founder of CGR, the second-largest network of cinemas in France after Pathé Gaumont – set up sale this strong group of 74 cinemas, i.e. more than 700 rooms. Charge to Jocelyn Bouyssy, general manager of this company based near La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime) to find a buyer. Since the accounts closed on March 31, 2022 have not been closed, the sale process “will not intervene for at least six weeks”he explains.
The general manager of CGR has already received “numerous expressions of interest from cinema groups, independents and investment funds”. He denies having had any contact with the Bolloré group, even if some saw the deal already concluded, barely announced. Similarly, Pathé “did not contact us” he says, due to anti-competition laws that would prevent the French number one from acquiring its rival.
“For now, few foreign companies have come forward. Perhaps CGR could also interest billionaires for whom cinema would be a dancer…”, calculates the one who has just celebrated his thirty-seven years of house. It confirms the first financial assessments of such a sale, around 1 billion euros. “CGR has the particularity of owning 90% of the walls of its cinemas”, he said. This group, which bought its first cinema in 1974 in La Rochelle before branching out to multiplexes from 1995 in the South-West then buying Cap cinema in 2017, has diversified considerably. It owns the distribution company Appolo Films, seventeen hotels, seven Burger King restaurants and even a thalassotherapy center in Châtelaillon (Charente-Maritime).
This family group employs more than 3,000 people and achieves, according to Jocelyn Bouyssy, more than 280 million euros in turnover in “normal year, excluding Covid, as in 2019”, he says. The Director General readily acknowledges that CGR has received “a lot of help from the CNC [Centre national de la cinématographie] » so that the number of cinemas can get through the health crisis. Without specifying the amount, but ensuring “that this did not compensate for all the losses”.
One of CGR’s strategic focuses is to develop and sell its own ICE technology for immersive cinemas. Forty operate in the territory and this concept has been sold, despite the pandemic, in Las Vegas, the United Arab Emirates and Barcelona, where a room is inaugurated this week. Contacts are made in Estonia, Germany, Italy and South America. “We sell the concept without asking for royalties”, said M. Bouyssy. Depending on whether it is a new room or to be renovated, the price ranges between 0.4 and 1 million euros.
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